I have a new second favorite children’s book.
As I’ve shared here at Story Warren, The Napping House by Audrey Wood is my absolute favorite (http://www.storywarren.com/playing-favorites-the-napping-house/). But there’s now another children’s book that is coming in a close second.
It’s a book by Mo Willems, an imaginative retelling of a classic tale. His version is called, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Not three bears. Three dinosaurs. You like this book already, don’t you? …I could tell.
You see, there are these three dinosaurs that live in a dinosaur-sized house in the woods and as Willems introduces us to them we quickly understand their plot to deceive Goldilocks and lead her to visit their house instead. They want to turn her into a tasty bonbon! As the story unfolds, it seems that the dinosaurs’ plan is working. Goldilocks does wander into their house and she eats more than her fill of chocolate. But, as she searches the house for a place to rest it slowly dawns on her that the scale of this house is all wrong – this is not the bear’s house… this is a dinosaur’s house! Immediately, Goldilocks runs out the back door. Then the dinosaurs rush in and are disappointed to find that she’s escaped.
There is so much to like about this book. The writing is creative and the artwork is packed with hilarious details. But what I love most about Willems’ tale is that after the conclusion of his story he gives us two morals.
The moral for dinosaurs is “Lock the back door.” (Good advice!)
But the moral for people is…
“If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” (Great advice!)
You see, when Goldilocks finally figured out that she was in the wrong story… she left. She didn’t make herself feel bad or beat herself up or wait to get eaten… she left.
In Jesus’s ministry he was constantly conversing with people who found themselves in the wrong story. Our miracle-working Messiah did some amazing things but arguably his most incredible actions stemmed from his ability to help people come to the realization that they, in fact, were living in the wrong story. This happened over and over again. There’s the woman at the well. There’s Zacchaeus. There’s that woman caught in adultery. Jesus informed people (sometimes it seemed like a whisper and other times like a shout) that they were made to be characters in a different, better story. While certainly they had been part of the wrong story, the truth was that they could leave and step into a better one.
There is so much of the gospel in the moral of this story.
There are a LOT of people in the world today who are in the wrong story. And I want my kids (and everyone they and I come in contact with) to know that if any of us ever find ourselves in a story dominated by darkness, death, devils (…or dinosaurs) that the door is unlocked (!), the way has been paved, and the Storyteller has invited us into his story – his kingdom of light and life and liberty and love.
So, be sure to read this book to people you love. And remember: “If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”